Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
2 December 2002
Appointed Person
Mr Geoffrey Hobbs QC
Applicant for Invalidity
National Car Rental System Inc
Registered Proprietor
Firstgroup Plc
Section 47 based on Sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) & 5(4)(a)


Section 47 & 5(2)(b): - Appeal dismissed. Invalidation action failed.

Section 47 & 5(3): - Appeal dismissed. Invalidation action failed.

Section 47 & 5(4)(a): - Appeal dismissed. Invalidation action failed.

Points Of Interest

  • 1. Appeal to the Appointed Person from Hearing Officer’s decision dated 17 May 2000 (BL O/212/02).


Appeal to the Appointed Person from the Hearing Officer’s decision dated 17 May 2002 (BL O/212/02) in which the Hearing Officer found in favour of the registered proprietor.

The applicant for invalidity based its application on a prior registered mark, NATIONAL and device, in Class 39 in respect of “Automobile rental and reservation services”. The registered proprietor’s mark is registered in respect of “Passenger transport services incorporating related travel arrangement services”. The applicant also claimed a reputation in its mark and filed evidence in support of that claim.

Under Sections 5(3) and 5(4)(a) the Appointed Person examined the applicant’s evidence and concluded that it did not establish that the applicant enjoyed a reputation and goodwill when the registered proprietor applied to register its mark. It followed that the applicant must fail on these grounds of the application. Hearing Officer’s decision upheld.

Under Section 5(2)(b) the Appointed Person noted the non-distinctive and descriptive nature of the word NATIONAL when comparing the respective marks EASTERN NATIONAL and NATIONAL and device. Also there was a basic difference, in terms of the need fulfilled, between the services offered by the applicant and those offered by the registered proprietor. Bearing in mind the differences in the marks and the services the Appointed Person concluded that there was little likelihood of the public being confused as to the origin of the respective services. Invalidation also failed on this ground and the Hearing Officer’s decision was upheld.

Full decision O/531/02 PDF document45Kb